Part of what gets us out of bed in the am (besides coffee!), is discovering amazing and talented mamas and great products we think you might like! Although this series is sponsored by Fisher-Price, the Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price Collection totally knocked us out with it’s incredible design and quality so we were thrilled to collaborate with them and the authentic women in these posts.
With a keen eye for beautiful things, it’s no surprise Bonnie Tsang has made her career in commercial and editorial photography. She’s also a big player in social media (she has three personal IG accounts alone!) and acts as a consultant for various companies, and even named one of the “Top 30 Pinterest Curators To Follow” by Time Magazine. She recently welcomed a new baby girl, Henri, into her life. From being a single mom for 10 years and then married with a new baby in 1, you know this mama has a lot to share! Read her interview as she opens up about the new challenges she’s encountered, what her new favorite baby items are, what’s the story behind choosing the name ‘Henri’.
This has been a big year for you! James moved in, you got married and now you’re a mama to Henri. So many adjustments and amazing milestones! What have been some of the challenges?
Adjusting. I was a single mom for ten years, so while having a full house is a fortunate thing, it can still take some major adjustments. Interesting thing is even though we all had to make accommodations to our lifestyles to kind of “fit it all together”, I never had a sense of it being rushed because of how natural the progression felt.
Making room for bebe is a total process! Did you have to move or renovate to make room for this sweet new soul? Where does Henri sleep and what is her nursery like?
For now, Henri sleeps in our bedroom because I didn’t want to have to get up and go to another room every night. We got rid of our king sized bed and replaced with a queen sized, smaller end tables, and just scooted everything over a couple of feet to one side to make room for the crib and Baby Henri’s dresser. We thought it might get a little cramped, but it’s surprisingly quite open. I love walking into our room.
There are always positives and negatives about age gaps between kids. Your older daughter is how old?? What would you say is the best thing about this age gap?
We actually had a few discussions with Venise about the difference in age between her and Baby Henri. She had expressed some anxieties about the 12 year gap in their age – about how the baby might want to take possession of her things or impose on her space. We didn’t try to minimize that notion with her, though. We told her that it’s not only possible but likely probable that the baby might impose on her as she grows up, but that we would do everything we could as parents to make sure Baby Henri learns to respect Venise’s space. But, more importantly, we wanted to help Venise understand that she would be taking on a whole new set of responsibilities as big sister and that some of those responsibilities include learning to be patient with a baby who doesn’t understand the ideas of space and property. Beyond all this, we reinforced that there are tremendous benefits to having this age gap – namely that it’s an opportunity for Venise to learn and be a part of – at such an early age – the process of raising a child. As Venise goes from teenager into adulthood, she will be closer to Henri’s mentality than we as parents could ever be and imparting her knowledge and life experiences to Henri will be that much more relatable and acceptable to Henri as she grows up. I could tell that this idea really excited Venise and to see her change into a more “motherly” person towards Henri has been so beautiful.
Telling your kids that they’re going to have a new sibling is a scary, yet exciting thing. You never know how they’re going to react! How did you announce the arrival of your little one to her? How did she take the news?
As soon as we found out about the pregnancy we told her right away. At first, it was difficult for her to accept. “It’s always been just you and me,” she said. But as time went by, she grew more comfortable with the idea. James and I tried to include her to most of our doctor’s appointments, especially the ones that involved ultrasound. In the end, she came into the delivery room to witness the arrival of her baby sister and even cut the umbilical cord!
Was there anything you were really nervous about while waiting for baby Henri to arrive?
Yes! I was going to be 42 years old when having her and the doctor, early on, had expressed that there’s always an increased chance of risk for a multitude of factors when having a baby after the age of 35. And we did all the blood work and genetic tests that were required, but they all came with the caveat that “nothing is 100% certain.” So even though the pregnancy was smooth for the most part – and all the charts and graphs indicated a “normal” pregnancy – there was always this fear of “what if” looming in the back of my mind.
From the rollercoaster of emotion you’re feeling, to the real time struggle of actually fitting work in,
Going back to work can have its own set of challenges from missing your little one and feeling guilty to real time logistic on getting work done. It can be even more challenging when you work for yourself and “set” your own hours. How have your first days back to work been?
I DO feel guilty about leaving my baby with James to go do a shoot or attend an event and IT IS impossible logistically at times to get my work done as the baby is crying. In fact, I’m literally bouncing back and forth between answering this question and trying to get Baby Henri to nap. So yes, it can be EXTREMELY challenging. This goes for James too – we both split the parenting duties down the middle. Fortunately, we both work in flexible industries where we can set our own schedules, but there are times when he’s in the middle of work and I have a deadline to catch and while we’re both scrambling to get our jobs done, Baby Henri will just burst into tears because she’s hungry. But at the end of the day we always manage.
A close and really stylish friend calls to tell you the good news, she’s expecting! She is so excited, but feeling overwhelmed at the thought of creating her registry. What are your top 5 items you would tell her to be sure to include?
Sleep is alway the most elusive and sought after thing in the early days with bebe. What’s Henri’s sleep schedule been like? Any tricks you’ve found that help get her off to sleep?
At the moment, she’s up every 2-3 hours for feedings. She just loves to eat! Before the Deluxe Rock n’ Play Sleeper, we’d hold and bounce her until she fell asleep, but once we got it she’s been sleeping a lot more peaceful and for little longer too! I almost feel guilty – it’s become such a crutch for us but it works every time! She just passes right out.
I love boys names for girls! My middle name is Ryan, and my baby girl is River. What was the inspiration for Henri’s name?
I’m going to warn you up front that the story of Henri’s name is not as profound as we wish it could have been. Before I even met my husband, he had already determined that his first child would be named Henry. When we found out I was pregnant, we instantly started calling the baby, Henry. Then came the doctors visit which resulted in me having to call James and tell him that we’re having a GIRL! So we had to decide on a new name. We went back and forth for months with names for our baby girl, but in the end I suggested that we just keep her name as Henry but spell it with an “i” and both my husband and Venise were happy with it.
What do you mean that’s not a great story?! That’s adorable! And the outfits you’ve posted on Instagram for Henri, we die over them! Any favorite designers? Shops? Interior resources?
I made a point to support small independent companies and designers, so I did a lot of research and spent many hours on the Etsy site. Some of my favorite shops are Nature Baby, Copper Pearl, and House of Mia.
What has been the biggest difference between raising Venise when she was a newborn, to baby Henri? Do you feel like you are older and wiser and know so much more this time around or do you feel like you’ve forgotten it all? I have a 10 month old and barely recall what I did with my 5 year old as a newborn lol!
I was a decade younger so I had a lot more energy and the body healing process was faster. But yes, I agree with you – even though I’ve already raised a girl, there are things that I’ve just totally forgotten (the pain, the healing process and lack of sleep!) and there are things I have to re-learn. I do feel wiser though, in the sense that I’m not as easily affected by circumstances and I’m a lot calmer now. Ha!
As you’ve settled into a routine with baby, what’s become your favorite time of day?
Oh, I love to hold her and rock her to sleep. Melts my heart to watch her doze off.
We love the gorgeous Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price pieces you featured on your Instagram. Can you tell us a little about the product and what you love about it? How has it been most helpful in your routine.
Aren’t they so beautiful? It’s one thing that they have such a stylish and beautiful simplicity to it that speaks exactly to my taste, but it’s another thing that they are SO effective for what they are meant to do! I already talked about how the Deluxe Rock n’ Play Sleeper is instrumental in getting Baby Henri to fall asleep, but the other items have become a fundamental part of our daily routine. The Projection Mobile completely mesmerizes Henri whenever we turn it on. Before we put it up, putting her in the crib would almost certainly upset her and she wanted to automatically be picked up again. The second we put in the mobile, life got easier. She just fixates at the light patterns dancing from the projection and the plush animals going round and round. Sometimes she even talks and smiles at it – it’s the cutest thing! The Deluxe Bouncer is where we put Henri when she’s awake and we’re either at the dinner table or working – we can keep her next to us and with a gentle knee nudge, keep her occupied. And just like the crib mobile, she just stares up at the bell mirror and animals trying to figure it all out. The Sensory Gym is where we take her once a day for tummy time! It’s one of my favorite times with her. We’ll put her on her belly over the crescent moon vibrating pillow and put the mirror in front of her and just watch her push herself up with her hands and hold her head up (while she drools all over the soft, fuzzy base!).
Since you live in LA, where the weather is perfect most of the time, do you spend a lot of time with Henri out and about? What was your first trip out like? Any fave places to go and things to do?
I’ve only taken her out once by myself to one of my favorite coffee shops. Henri did great – she was so relaxed. I, on the other hand, was exhausted. My own fault though, I pretty much packed the whole house into my diaper bag and I ended up having too many things to carry!